Adeyemi has chance to shine in youth cup

Michael Bailey One of Norwich City's bright new things is determined to repay the faith shown in him by Glenn Roeder before the season ends - starting with the academy's showpiece competition tomorrow.

Michael Bailey

One of Norwich City's bright new things is determined to repay the faith shown in him by Glenn Roeder before the season ends - starting with the academy's showpiece competition tomorrow.

As the newest professional to come out of Ricky Martin's academy set-up,

17-year-old midfielder Tom Adeyemi signed a two-and-a-half year deal last month before helping Norwich's second string to a 4-2 win over Arsenal at Carrow Road two weeks ago.

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Adeyemi, along with fellow 17-year-old professional Korey Smith, also travelled alongside Roeder's 16-man squad to Hillsborough at the weekend, to sample life in the Championship.

Before the game, Roeder expressed his hope the pair will break into his Championship squad before the summer and with the Canaries'

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Under-18s preparing to face Wigan in their opening FA Youth Cup tie at Carrow Road tomorrow (7pm), Adeyemi is not worried about the added expectation placed on his young shoulders.

"Obviously it puts a bit of pressure on me, but I'm really pleased that he believes I've got what it takes to do that, and that's my aim come the end of the season, to do that and hopefully I will," said the midfielder.

"It's all moved really quickly. Three weeks ago I was just a scholar and I was working hard in training and trying to impress the first team, and now I've got my professional contract and I've been given some good opportunities.

"Because it's moved so quickly, it has been hard to take it in but obviously it's been an ambition of mine for quite a long time. I'm really pleased it has happened now and I've just got to keep working hard."

Adeyemi played the full 90 minutes against the Gunners two weeks ago, where he impressed with his passing and strength in possession, and the midfielder believes that game at Carrow Road, along with the chance to travel, warm-up and train with the first team, gives him the chance to be prepared for his first team debut, whenever it does arrive.

"I've been given little tasters and the game against Arsenal as well was a little taster of what it's going to be like," said Adeyemi.

"It's been really good and hopefully one day I get the chance to play in a first team game.

"It's good to know that they know about you and they are concerned about bringing you on. Obviously I really want to progress and make an appearance sometime, but I know I've got to be patient and I know when I'm ready, the manager will put me in.

"So I've just got to keep showing that I'm good enough in training and hopefully I'll get given a chance."

City have exited the competition to eventual semi-finalists in the last three seasons, including a 6-1 thumping from Sunderland at the Stadium of Light 12 months ago.

But the academy boys will certainly be aware of the importance of the competition, one widely recognised as the acid test for a productive academy.

"Obviously we are really aware and if we weren't, then Ricky's been telling us enough," said Adeyemi. "We all want to go as far as we can in it and just progress.

"I think it's really important for us to go as far as we can and that we do catch the eye. All the players want to do well and if we all impress as individuals, then we'll play well as a team and we'll have a good chance of going through.

"I think we're quite strong all over. Hopefully we're stronger than the team last year because we want to do much better than that and go through, not just this game; we want to win the next one and the next one and go as far as we can.

"Everyone is really excited about it, everyone wants to do well and I think we're really together as a team. Even before it was drawn we were looking forward to it and then, once it was drawn and we saw we had a Premier League team, everyone just got really excited and it's been at the back of our minds ever since."

n Admission for the game is via the Jarrold Stand turnstiles on the night, tickets priced at £4 and concessions £1. There is no free entry for season ticket holders.

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